Fox News once again ended the year as cable's top news network followed by CNN, with few radical ratings dips or surges for either network. But among the channels with smaller audience totals—MSNBC, CNBC and Headline News—2007 was a year of growth.
For the year in primetime, Fox News was the No. 6-ranked cable channel behind USA, TNT, ESPN, TBS and Lifetime. That's two notches higher than its ranking last year. CNN, its closest news competitor, was No. 26, down one.
Fox News was down 1% in total viewers in total day and 3% in the 25-54 demographic, but still boasts most of the top-rated shows on cable news led by The O'Reilly Factor, which has been No. 1 in its 8 p.m. time slot for 85 consecutive months.
CNN posted a slight uptick in total day in viewers and the demo (1% and 3%, respectively) and posted a 7% gain in primetime (8-11 p.m.) in the 25-54 demo.
MSNBC continued to grow in total day in viewers (17%) and the demo (15%) and was up in primetime 28% in total viewers and 22% in the demo. But its morning ratings eroded after Don Imus was deposed in April 2007. Year-to-year in the morning MSNBC is down 9% in total viewers and 21% in the demo with Joe Scarborough's Morning Joe.
In total day, CNBC was up 27% in viewers and 25% in the demo and in primetime gained 34% in total viewers and 17% in the demo. The fledgling Fox Business Network is averaging a mere 6,000 viewers in total day and 15,000 in primetime for its first three months on the air. But the channel is not widely available.
CNN Headline News was up in total day 12% in viewers and 11% in the demo and 14% in primetime viewers and 16% in the demo.